I've sometimes wondered. I am so limited due to physical ailments, so I question. Am I resting in Him and believing I am fully in Him when I do nothing? I think about not participating in all the "duties" of Christian activities, and all church events. Sometimes I feel guilty about that. I sit here and I pray for others and I feel really happy about that. I write (not always about spiritual things, but about challenges we face, and about a more positive way of looking at things). I feel called to do so; it's part of using the gifts the Spirit has given me. I have a few folks in my life whom I encourage through emails, through my writing and they say they find courage to face things they might not have otherwise faced in quite the same way. It humbles me and amazes me when they tell me that. I never feel like I've done anything or said anything profound. I never quite understand what they gain. I'm simply compelled to write what I write. Sometimes when I look back, I think I could have said it better, worded it differently, communicated clearer. But ultimately, I leave my words in the hands of the Father and let Him do with them as He would.
I also undergird my daughter's ability to minister in our church and community by caring for her little ones when she needs to do something. She is a busy lady as a deacon's wife, youth teacher, Couples Sunday School director. I support her calling as a mother and wife and Christian leader. I feel so complete in somehow being a part of easing her life.
Yet, the "enemy" is always close, whispering doubts, accusing, smearing my mind with guilt. Fortunately, I am always brought back to the fact that God loves me as I am. His grace covers any and all insufficiencies I have or think I have. I can "do" nothing apart from Christ. I must rest in Him; and I find that rest when I simply stop and give Him total control. Each time I do this, I find myself living--truly living--in His peace. An unshakeable guilt-free peace.
A friend of mine puts it this way:
When we finally abandon the notion that God is only pleased with us when we work hard for Him, a stronghold is broken - and release comes. It's about time, wouldn't you say? Grace means relying on Him to enable us for our secondary callings, but our primary calling is always to Himself. In the overflow of His life in us, we're enabled for service. "Having made peace through the blood of His cross" (Col.1:20), we're given everything we need to live - no need for all the self-imposed guilt. ~~Victoria Gaines
How about you? Do you think activity and busyness can take priority in one's life over Christ Himself? Do you feel one's performance record is what Christ is most interested in?
"But the Lord replied to her by saying, 'Martha, Martha, you are troubled about many things. There is need of (but a few things, or) only one. Mary has chosen the good portion--that which is to advantage--which shall not be taken away from her." Luke 10:41-42, Amplified.
Some Christians wonder how we reconcile that verse with James 2:20: "Are you willing to be shown [proof], you foolish, unproductive, spiritually-deficient fellow, that faith apart from [good] works is inactive and ineffective and worthless?" Some folks think if they aren't working in an active way, they are faithless. But Martha wasn't faithless. She was just choosing to busy herself at that particular moment with something less important than the most important. Time with Jesus. When we spend time with Jesus, our service to Jesus is completed through Him. And all He is floods our being. We stop fretting about our things-to-do lists. He becomes our priority and all else flows from His life in us. He cannot be taken away from us.
How many Christians do you know who struggle with works as a measuring stick for their faithfulness to Christ? How many Christians do you know who feel guilty for not living up to the faithfulness they see acted out in others? Can we offer them hope? Can we give them the encouragement they need to simply rest in their Savior's all-encompassing presence and allow Him to live in them individually?
I think we must understand that believers are IN Christ and with our position in Him, all the good works we do are a result of Him dwelling within us. Any good we do exemplifies His life being lived out in us. Our faith naturally brings forth an obedience to our Savior. His grace meets us and greets the world with His presence through us. As we fix our heart, mind, soul and strength on Him, He makes things happen through us, our obedience, our brokenness, our kindnesses, our goodness, our extensions of mercy, and our acts of forgiveness. It's a natural bearing of fruit. The gifts we've been given by the Holy Spirit are made evident. As we abandon ourselves--our right to ourselves--He receives us unto Himself and all conflict between faith and works becomes another act of grace.
When faith and works is cooperating, they celebrate a Sabbath together. selahV
[copyrighted, 2009, edited 2013, SelahVToday, hariette petersen]